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Should I report him (my brother) to the authorities?

Jan 3, 2021
I think I probably already know the answer to the question, but I would like to make sure. There's a further question: Should I also (or alternatively) warn his latest (recent) partner?

Sorry... very long post....

For years, my older brother abused (physically, psychologically and financially) our mum and dad. I know this from conversations with both of them. It never happened in front of me - we were both grown up (30-ish), and I didn't live with them, only he did. That in itself was abusive - one day he arrived back from living abroad with his (then pregnant) wife, went to my parents house (uninvited) and announced that he was moving in. He stayed there for something like 25 years (his wife left him, taking their son, a couple of years after they had arrived). He took over the house - for a period he was working nights, and blacked out all the upstairs windows so that he could sleep during the day. My mother was "not allowed" to watch television because the sound would keep him awake. I don't know if he hit my parents (probably did) but on various occasions she phoned me to tell me he had "pushed" here, on one occasion on the stairs. He never paid any rent, nor contributed to bills, nor (I believe) even food. My parents were far from wealthy.

I knew all this, but was never able to bring myself to do anything about it. Not brave enough to confront him. Please don't beat me up about that. One of the reasons was that I had talked my mother - she had made it clear that she didn't want me to report him. My father did, at least once, talk to the police, but chose not to press charges. As a father myself, I can understand why, must have been very conflicted feelings.

I'll mention briefly, I'm pretty sure he's mentally ill, and maybe has been since he was around 15 (I'm a year and a half younger). At that time he became, well, "weird". He suddenly developed a speech impediment (stammer). We think we may have been bullied at school. None of this excuses him, of course, but it may be relevant. Almost every one of his partners (5+ that I know of) was oriental, Japanese, Korean, now Philippine. I don't know whether that's actually significant, but my wife thinks it's because, for reasons of their culture, they're easier for him to manipulate. He's a character who, in public, appears charming, intelligent, kind and caring. But indoors, he has a dark side, it seems.

I know that he also abused at least one of his partners, from talking to her myself a year or so after she had left him. She told me that she had been so scared that she ran from the house with nothing more than her handbag, didn't even stop to pick up her coat (in the middle of an English winter) and never went back. She didn't tell me any further details. I suspect that he have abused many, quite probably all of his partners. I have no solid evidence for that, but the pattern was always the same: he would start a new relationship, it would last about a couple of years, then the girl would vanish from his life. I suppose that in itself isn't so unusual, but knowing what I now know, it seems very reasonable to assume that abuse was always a factor. Several of his relationships included a pregnancy (3 that I know of, it wouldn't surprise me if there were more). He has offspring in at least Holland, Japan, and (most recently) New Zealand, where he lives now.

Around 15 years after he had moved in with my parents, my father was became very depressed (my mother suffered recurring and ongoing depression too, but that had started much earlier). At the time I was living in Spain, and we invited them to come out and stay there a few months - we owned a small holiday apartment which we let during the summer, but this was October so it was empty. So I got to spend a lot of time with Dad. He was 78 at the time.

In one conversation, Dad told me that had thought very seriously about cutting my brother out of his will. I was shocked, I hadn't realised it could possibly have been *that* bad. I wondered, *what* on earth had he done? I don't know to what extent my father's depression had been caused by the oppressive conditions he had been living under, but away from them, in a new, sunny place, he got better very quickly. Within a couple of months, he had improved greatly. He had decided they would stay there in Spain long term, had bought himself a small car to get around, found a job (Sundays only) playing the organ in a local church, and had played various times in a local jazz club (professionally he had been a pianist and music teacher). He went from very down to apparently very happy in the space of about 3 months. Sadly (though happily, in some ways), he died suddenly, just after midnight on the 1st January 2000, aged 78.

A year or so later, my mother decided to go home to England (back to her house, my brother was still there). Then, on top of everything else, began the financial abuse. He took control of her bank account, or maybe just her cash/credit card - he seemed to be able to draw cash, yet she couldn't. She told me she had to ask him for money. He claimed that he didn't let her have it because she would only buy sherry (alcohol that was a separate problem of Mum's). Looking back, I think this was probably the worse period of all. I wish I had done something. I had a lot of problems of my own during those years, work/money problems, relationship problems, a lot of other issues too, and probably some depression, I think. I think I just hoped my mum was ok. I struggled to believe that he could be really bad to her, she was his mother after all. I hoped he was actually caring for her, maybe he was, in some ways at least.

My father had, years previously, given me access to online banking for his savings account (now my mothers) as I had been helping him manage his money online (he wasn't comfortable using the internet). One day I decided to login there and check on things for my mother. I found a cheque has been paid out, around 3000 pounds (US $4500 or so at the time), which I thought very strange, and I phoned Mum about it. She said she didn't know what it was. I asked her if she was sure as maybe it was some mistake or even fraudulent access. Eventually she told me that my brother had "told her" to sign a blank cheque. On further checking, I found another one for a similar amount. It eventually turned out that he had used the money to fund some university course he had taken.

About 8 years after having returned home, my mother died, aged just 72. I don't know why she died so young. My wife thinks that maybe she "lost the will to live". That was about 12 years ago now, I think.

After that, the house was sold. My brother, with his share, moved out to New Zealand, bought a house and set up a business there. I had no contact with him (he emailed me twice, I ignored both). I was glad that it was finally all over.

I suppose it was about 6-8 years ago, I found his Facebook page. There were photos of him and what was obviously the latest partner. A few years later, she had disappeared from the photos. The same old pattern.

I've realised today for the first time that I'm actually another victim of his abuse too, indirectly, and in a very different way. As is my younger brother (I haven't mentioned him yet, to keep things simple). I've suffered for years, albeit at a low background level, knowing that my parents were living, oppressed, under his rule. Not really knowing any details, trying to forget about it. Not knowing what to do. I try not to feel guilty, but I know I should have done something.

The final part, right up to date...
Because my father had died near midnight on New Years Eve, I tend to always remember him (and inevitably my mother too) at the same time. This year, thinking of them both, I imagined that they would not be happy to know that my brother and I were no longer talking to each other (and that it was my choice). I decided to message him on Facebook. I hoped he might have changed, and I hoped to be able to discuss the whole sad history with him, and convince him that he should seek professional help.

I went to his Facebook page, and saw there photos of him and his latest partner. It appears that they were married about 10 months ago. In the photos, Feb 2020, she's clearly *very* much younger than him (he's 60 now), and appears (most likely) pregnant. On her own Facebook page, there's one photo only, of a baby born May 2020. Suddenly I felt very sad for this girl and her baby (presumably), who I have never met and probably never will. Yet another 2 lives which will, sooner or later, be badly affected by him (unless he's changed, but does that ever happen?).

Even now, I can't help but feel I would be betraying my own brother, perhaps my late mother too, if I reported him anywhere or tried to warn his latest partner. But I feel I really should, finally, do something.

I messaged him on Facebook. It wasn't a very friendly message, but not unfriendly, just direct and to the point. He replied. I then tried to move towards discussing that he seek professional help, but the conversation was going nowhere - he's either completely unaware of his issues (I don't think he's *that* mentally ill) or in complete denial. Denial was my conclusion as well, the only other time, many years ago, that I tried to raise the topic with him (in person). He just didn't say anything at all, and after a minute or so of complete silence, started talking about something else entirely.

I hadn't planned to write so much, it just kind of came out, I hope it all makes sense and isn't to unstructured.

By the way, I'm fine, got a wonderful and understanding partner and family around me. Just very tired now, goodnight!


here an there
Jul 30, 2009
i hear what youre saying, but im not sure what you're hoping to accomplish. i mean, your parents are dead, cannot press charges, or testify against your brother, and you have no direct evidence that he abused them. so reporting him to the authorities won't result in anything, theres nothing to report, nothing for them to work with. i dont doubt your story, i hear what youre saying, it does sound like he treated them poorly and that made them unhappy - but its unclear if he actually committed a crime, and, even so, theres no evidence of that. for example, youre saying that your mother complained that he pushed her - theres no proof that she said it, even if she did - theres no proof that it was true, and even if it was - theres no proof that it caused her any harm, no medical records, and no proof of what happened overall, idk, that he didnt push her in self-defense or something. again, i dont doubt your story, im just saying this isnt enough for a court case, to actually prosecute your brother, to prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt. i mean, you're welcome to still file a report with the authorities, if you want to, just it wont result in anything, idk if they'll even accept such a report.

theres a recent case, an elderly woman was living with her adult children (a few of them, plus inlaws, grandchildren, etc, big family), and she died of violence and neglect, the medical examiner ruled her death a homicide by elder abuse. ethically speaking - of course all of her children/inlaws are responsible, cuz they were all living in the same household and so each of them musta contributed to neglect, if she wasnt fed - it means none of them fed her, each is responsible. and, still ethically speaking, each of them is responsible for at least endangerment, for not calling police when whichever of them was beating her up, they couldnt not be aware of it, she had multiple bone fractures over a long timespan, they musta known and done nothing to protect her. but thats ethically speaking. while legally - it doesnt look like any of them will end up convicted of anything. the authorities are still investigating, but it looks like all of them will walk free cuz she died of a combination of multiple injuries that happened over a long period of time, and its impossible to prove which of them caused which injury. just sharing the story for perspective, to illustrate what it takes to convict someone of abuse.

and telling his current partner about his prior romantic history... i mean, she knows it, theres nothing new that you can tell her. youre drawing your info from his social networks, im sure she can see those too. he's 60yo, doesnt have an ex-wife and grandkids, so its clear that he's had a string of unsuccessful relationships. and from pics on social networks one can see that his previous partners were younger than him. you dont know that he abused them - you suspect that, because they all left abruptly and arent staying in touch with him now - but his current partner knows that as well, she can't not know that his past partners arent staying in touch.

i sympathize with your position, and understand where youre coming from, i just dont see anything positive coming out of trying to report your brother to authorities or telling his current partner of his prior romantic relationships.

you said that new years makes you think of your parents, and that you felt your mother would be sad to know that you and your brother arent talking to each other. i understand you're concerned about the welfare of his current partner and their child, i.e. your sister-in-law and nephew. but i wonder if youd be interested in building a positive (rather than negative) relationship with his family, that they should know who you are, develop some sorta bond/trust with you, etc. this way, if things go sour, they would be able to reach out to you for support, and you'll be able to be there for them. and if things don't go sour - you'll have relatives, can exchange holiday gifts/postcards with them, etc. i mean, you have three nieces/nephews across the world, that you never got to meet, it is kinda sad?